Freedom of the Borough

Freedom of the Borough

The origin of the Freedom of the Borough goes back to early medieval times, when with the growth of the great English towns, there emerged a class of citizen known as Freemen, who enjoyed important privileges in the government of their own and in the matter of corporate property, as against strangers and the rest of the inhabitants.

With the passing of the Honorary Freedom of the Boroughs Act 1885 the dignity attached to the Office of Freeman was revived and enhanced. This Act conferred upon all Municipal Corporations the power to admit as Honorary Freeman of the Borough “persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered eminent services to the Borough”. This has to be done by the council voting at a specially called meeting. 

Granting the Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour that the borough can confer.

The Borough Council conferred the Honorary Freedom of the Borough upon the following persons on the dates stated:

9 November 1885
George Edward Gee (Alderman)

9 November 1887
Thomas Philpot Wood (Alderman)

9 January 1894
John Morton Clayton (Alderman)

3 November 1896
John Middleton

28 September 1898
Lord Roberts of Waterford and Kandahar (Field Marshal)

9 November 1901
Edward Eastwood, JP

9 November 1910
Charles Paxton Markahm, J (Alderman)

2 July 1913
George Albert Eastwood, JP

9 November 1918
Sir Ernest Shentall, JP (Alderman)

9 November 1923
William Rhodes, JP

5 March 1946
George Clark, JP (County Alderman)

17 July 1946
The Sherwood Foresters

4 March 1947
Sir Robert Robinson, MA, DSc, LlD, FRIC, PRS
Theophilus Pearson, JP
Harry Hatton (Alderman)
Harry Varley (Alderman)

3 April 1951
Harry Croper, OBE, JP (Alderman)

6 May 1952
Miss Violet Rose Markham, CH, Jp, LittD, LlD
(Mrs James Carruthers)

1 March 1966
Frank Hadfield (Alderman)
Edwin Swale, CBE, DFC (Alderman)
Richard Clegg, OBE

27 July 1970
Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment

12 February 1974
James Anderson, CBE, JP (Alderman)
Henry Charles Day, MBE (Alderman)
HMS Danae

1 July 1980
Ralph Ambrose Kennedy


4 October 1983
Basil Barker
Irvine Roger Stillman, BA, MA, BM, BCR, FRCS (Eng)

2 December 1986
Canon David Ryan

23 July 1988
Chesterfield Football Club

25 October 2002
William John Flanagan OBE

10 March 2008
The Mercian Regiment

21 November 2008
The Right Honourable Lord Varley PC, DL (Posthumous Award)
David Roland Shaw LL.B


Freedom of Entry to the Borough

12 December 2007
The Mercian Regiment

20 July 2011
575 Field Squadron (V)

10 February 2012
The 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's)


The Borough Council Conferred the title of Honorary Alderman/Alderwoman upon the following persons on the dates stated:

25 March 1980
Walter Everett, OBE

22 October 1987
Harry Haywood

3 November 2004
Michael Gabriel Caulfield
Ronald Jepson
Donald Arthur Wain
Thomas Edmund Whyatt

14 October 2011
June Beckingham
Mick Leverton
Terry Kendellan
Asad Shafi Qazi (Nicky) (Posthumous Award)

6 July 2015
Jim McManus

28 September 2015
Stewart Bradford
David Stone

18 November 2019
John Burrows
Ray Russell
Steve Brunt

Last updated on 06 April 2021